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Intense: this is the first thought that comes to mind when reflecting on Vintage Theatre’s current production of “August: Osage County” that plays through Oct. 15. The superb company, under the astute direction of Bernie Cardell, leaves the audience exhausted by the end of the evening.
Family dynamics are the heart and soul of this gripping tale.
Cast members include: Deb Persoff (Violet Weston), Roger Hudson (Beverly Weston), Haley Johnson (Barbara Fordham), Kelly Uhlenhopp (Ivy Weston), Lauren Bahlman (Karen Weston), Marc Stith (Bill Fordham), Kaitlin Weinstein (Jean Fordham), Andrew Uhlenhopp (Steve Heidebrecht), Darcy Kennedy (Mattie Fae Aiken), John Ashton (Charlie Aiken), Brandon Palmer (“Little” Charlie Aiken), Emily Gerhard (Johnna Monevata), and Stephen Krusoe (Sheriff Deon Gilbeau).
The Weston family is falling apart at the seams following the disappearance of family patriarch, Beverly. The disappearance brings the three daughters, Ivy, Barbara and Karen together for the first time in recent memory. Ivy who still lives in the area, is charged with trying to keep track of their irascible mother, Violet, who is addicted to alcohol and pills. Barbara and Bill Fordham and their daughter Jean, are “home” for the first time in years. Karen shows up with her current “significant other,” Steve, a pompous, blowhard. Barbara and Bill are actually separated but show up together as a family to keep up appearances. Daughter Jean is a precocious teenager who likes to, among other things, smoke pot. Steve offers to hook Jean up with some “good” stuff.
When it becomes apparent that Beverly, who is also an alcoholic, isn’t coming back, because he’s committed suicide by drowning himself, the situation devolves even further. Violet becomes even more out of control, causing stress and strain on the entire household. Among other things, we learn that Ivy and “Little” Charlie are in love. I never did quite figure this one out, because he is the son of Violet’s sister, Mattie Fae and her husband Charlie.
The brilliant cast plays each role with conviction. I would be remiss to not mention a few notable performances. Deb Persoff is outstanding in the role of the deranged matriarch, Violet. Also of note is Haley Johnson as Barbara Fordham. She is stunning and we find out just how “stunning” she is at the close of the play. It is difficult to not comment on every single actor in the production, because each is so special.
“August: Osage County” runs through Oct. 15, at Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., in Aurora. It’s well worth the trip to see this riveting play. Running time is 3 hours and 15 minutes, but the time flew by. Intense, indeed.
For tickets and information, call 303-856-7830 or visit www.vintagethreatre.com.
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